Orioles standing by offer to Chris Davis

The Orioles stood by their reported seven-year, $150 million offer to Chris Davis on Thursday, said a source.

As the Orioles’ travel party left the winter meetings Thursday morning, they did so without having completed a deal to retain slugger Chris Davis, but confident they made their best effort over the past four days at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center.

The Orioles stood by their reported seven-year, $150 million offer to Davis on Thursday, according to an industry source, despite varying reports -- one saying that the club upped its offer and another saying the Orioles have taken their existing offer off the table.

Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette wouldn’t discuss the club’s offer to Davis or whether it had changed.

“We don't have any comment on the rumors,” Duquette said. “Lot of rumors out there.”

There’s no doubt the Orioles arrived in Music City hoping to lock up Davis this week, and they left trying to practice patience with Davis’ agent, Scott Boras, but steadfast that this delay is interfering with completing their roster for next season.

“Lot of interest, but now is the time of the year to buckle down and for people to make choices, what they are going to do with their teams and for players to choose what [teams] they are going to play for,” Duquette said.

“I always like to try to get the core of the team before Christmas, but it doesn’t always work that way. It doesn’t always work that way to get the club set up for the holidays. …  Sometimes you need patience and sometimes you’ve got to move. We’re moving on the things we can move on.”

Duquette promised the Orioles fan base that the club would be competitive in attempting to keep Davis, but they ended the meetings still unsure who their competition is for the 29-year-old slugger. In the week where rumors about free agents are most prevalent, there were really no substantial reports of other teams making as serious plays for Davis as the Orioles. Still, reports this week had Davis seeking eight years and $200 million.  

That cash truck isn’t pulling out of the Warehouse. The Orioles have made it clear their current offer is as high as they're willing to go.

The Orioles must still upgrade their starting pitching and add a left-handed bat, so they have worked on contingency plans in case Davis goes elsewhere, plans that could be accelerated if Boras’ methodical approach continues.   

Boras is well known for waiting out the market until his clients get the best deal. He said Wednesday he had no interest in making timetables. And the Orioles benefited from waiting out the market in 2014 when they swiped Nelson Cruz for a one-year, $8 million deal during spring training.

But in this unique situation – and with this type of unprecedented financial commitment to one player – the Orioles would like to move quickly.

“So it doesn’t always work that way, but it’s better if you can put your building blocks in place before the holidays,” Duquette said. “We’ve got some things to follow up and get our team tuned up. We’re going to have a good ballclub. I can see our team coming together. Discussions we had internally were very productive. I can see it coming together.”

The Orioles haven’t offered these big-money deals often. They made Severna Park native Mark Teixeira an offer in the ballpark of seven years and $150 million before the 2009 season.  Teixeira ultimately signed an eight-year, $180 million deal with the New York Yankees.

Center fielder Adam Jones is the highest-paid player in club history. He is entering the fourth year of a six-year, $85.5 million extension signed during the 2012 season.

Duquette said he expected the club to add another piece – other than Rule 5 pick Joey Rickard – in the upcoming days. Their search for starting pitching and a left-handed bat took them through both the trade and free-agent markets.

They reportedly spoke to free-agent outfielder Justin Upton. They still have interest in left-handed free-agent outfielders Alex Gordon and Denard Span, as well as nontendered lefty Pedro Alvarez. They have interest in free-agent arms like left-hander Scott Kazmir and right-hander Yovani Gallardo.  

“Maybe by the end of the week and then hopefully next week,” Duquette said of signing additional players. “Our guys have been working pretty hard down here. … I believe we are making a little progress here on figuring out how we are going to put our team together this year.”

eencina@baltsun.com
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